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Late Friday, Mitt Romney received some good news in of two more GOP primary contests from the South Pacific. He came away with victories in the Northern Marianas Islands and Guam, two contests that received little fanfare in the press. The victories highlight the strategy of the Romney campaign. Mohammad Ali might have called it “Campaign-a-Dope.”
Romney now has more delegates than all of his competitors combined, with a total of 481 delegates nicely packed away. His closest rival, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has less than half of that. While Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich are expected to pick up some delegates (during today's Kansas Caucus as well as in the upcoming weeks), right now the nomination is Romney’s to lose.
Romney has made it this far despite the issues people have with his being a wealthy New England Republican, and despite RomneyCare. He now is paying equal attention to contests that others are largely ignoring, such as the upcoming March 18 Puerto Rico primary. Romney has already received the endorsement of Governor Luis Fortuño, and is expected to do well.
Letting your rivals punch themselves out seems silly in concept, but it is working out nicely so far. Last time around, Romney campaigned clumsily. Now, he is campaigning like the number-crunching nerd he is, and winning. Between all of his first and second place finishes, he has been able to leapfrog the competition.
While no one is close yet to receiving the 1144 delegates needed to secure the nomination, Romney so far is the best poised to take the prize in Tampa this August. Mitt doesn’t have to win this by knockout. A win on points will serve him just as well. After that, it’s on to the general election.